New York Post Online Edition: news
Pfc. Rob Jacobs of New Jersey said he was initially ecstatic to get a package of letters from sixth-graders at JHS 51 in Park Slope last month at his base 10 miles from the North Korea border.
That changed when he opened the envelope and found missives strewn with politically charged rhetoric, vicious accusations and demoralizing predictions that only a handful of soldiers would leave the Iraq war alive.
“It’s hard enough for soldiers to deal with being away from their families, they don’t need to be getting letters like this,” Jacobs, 20, said in a phone interview from his base at Camp Casey. “If they don’t have anything nice to say, they might as well not say anything at all.”
One Muslim boy wrote: “Even thoe [sic] you are risking your life for our country, have you seen how many civilians you or some other soldier killed?”
His letter, which was stamped with a smiley face, went on: “I know your [sic] trying to save our country and kill the terrorists but you are also destroying holy places like Mosques.”
Most of the 21 letters Jacobs provided to The Post mentioned some support for the armed forces, if not the Iraq war, and thanked him for his service. But nine of the students made clear their distaste for the president or the war.
The letters were written as a social-studies assignment. The JHS 51 teacher, Alex Kunhardt, did not return phone calls, but the school principal, Xavier Costello, responded with a statement:
“While we would never censor anything that our children write, we sincerely apologize for forwarding letters that were in any way inappropriate to Pfc. Jacobs. This assignment was not intended to be insensitive, but to be supportive of the men and women in service to our nation.”
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